During pre-planning developers do not have time to understand a task they have not investigated themselves, how to address their concerns?



  • We are a facing an issue where some of our team members are not happy with the pre-planning/planning phase of our scrum sprints. Their concerns are, that during pre-planning developers do not have too much time to understand a task that have not investigated themselves, so making suggestions and point estimating is difficult.

    So in fewer words, there is not enough time to understand a task and provide valuable feedback.

    Their suggestions:

    • Reviewers should discuss tasks directly with the developer that performed the investigation and estimate the task, thus canceling pre-planning.
    • Present only complex/major tasks to the team during retro meeting for knowledge sharing (our work load has a lot of repetitive tasks so I can understand this one).

    So, how should we tackle that?



  • There is no planning or pre-planning phase in Scrum. I guess you are referring to Backlog Refinement and/or Sprint Planning (sprint planning is a relatively short time-boxed event and definitely not a phase). Backlog refinement and sprint planning are complementary activities when it comes to helping developers understand items on the backlog. Sprint planning meetings are focussed on the current sprint and time is usually limited so there may not be time fully to understand everything at that stage.

    The idea of backlog refinement is that it's a background activity where the team takes time to refine the backlog, make estimates and understand things that will come up in future without the time pressure implicit in sprint planning. It can help to schedule some refinement meetings where team members have the opportunity to discuss things in advance so that sprint planning itself can be kept relatively short. If it happens that only one person is sure to work on a particular item then it may not be worth explaining it to others but usually teams aim to eliminate those key person dependencies by regular communication across the team. The team only needs enough information to be confident when a backlog item is ready to start and that it can be done in a particular sprint.

    You mention retro meetings. Retrospectives are supposed to focus on how well the team is doing and where they can improve. I suggest you avoid using them for knowledge sharing.




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